Addled Parliament

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The Addled Parliament was the second Parliament of England of the reign of James I of England (following his 1604-11 Parliament), which sat between 5 April and 7 June 1614. Its name alludes to its ineffectiveness: it lasted no more than eight weeks and failed to resolve the conflict between the King, who wished to raise money in the form of a 'Benevolence', a grant of £65,000 and the House of Commons (who were resisting further taxation). It was dissolved by the King, who observed grimly that he was surprised that his ancestors should let such an institution come into existence. He probably intended to rule from then on without Parliament, and in fact did so for seven years.

Parliament saw no reason for a further grant: the war with Spain had reached its resolution with the 1604 Treaty of London and so they saw the King's continued financial deficit as a result of his extravagance (especially on Scottish favourites such as Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset) and saw no justification for continued high spending. This ran contrary to the king's beliefs who felt that he was entitled to demand more money if and when he needed it. The failure of the 'Great Contract' (1610) with which James hoped to secure an annual grant of £200,000 meant that he still relied heavily on parliamentary grants of supply.

Moreover there remained the continuing hostility as a result of the king's move of setting impositions without consulting Parliament, and nebulous rumours of a Roman Catholic "conspiracy".

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References[edit]

  • Kenyon, J.P. The Stuarts Fontana edition 1966